It’s been a couple of days since the tragedy in Connecticut, and as the fog of disbelief, confusion and anger has begun to wear off, it is being replaced by the predictable calls for greater preventative measures. For some, its stronger gun control. For others, its more widespread security measures in schools, or greater funding for mental health services. By and large, most of what is being articulated represents political and governmental solutions. There is no question that government plays a role in public safety, and there may be value in exploring greater regulation in this area. However, it is clear to me that there is something else our country needs a greater amount of: love.
We live in the seemingly most socially connected culture in the history of the world, and yet there are so many that experience such a profound sense of loneliness or insignificance that they are driven to terrible acts that will bring attention to their pain. They are among us, and yet we willingly turn a blind eye to what they go through. I am not advocating the need for another government program because I wonder if, deep down, we are hoping the government provides the answer so that we don’t have to be bothered. What we are facing is a spiritual problem no law has the capacity to fix. I am talking about getting down and dirty in the margins and standing in the gap for someone who is hurting. The way we demonstrate love is not through fixing each other, but through bearing with one another and carrying each other’s burdens.
Many are asking where God was in this situation. I think God has the right to ask us the same question. I think He has the right to ask us why we drive past the woman on corner begging for money for food. I think He has the right to ask us why we ignore the children in our neighborhoods who we know do not have good role models. I think He has a right to ask us why we ask people how they are doing, and secretly hope they don’t tell us the truth.
I am sure there will be some sort of government intervention as a result of this tragedy. There will be a big news conference, a bill signing at the White House, and we all will feel safer knowing that government has stepped in. But it won’t change the brokenness in our world. It won’t change our need for God and for each other. And it won’t change that fact that there will be hurting people on the margins who will act out of their desperation in ways we will never be able to prevent.
Would love have prevented what happened in Connecticut? We will never know. But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try, because no law can replace the investment one life makes in another.